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She’ll Settle It?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2022

Christina L. Boyd*
University of Georgia
Contact the author at


Relying on research that posits that female leaders and managers will be more likely than men to adopt a management style that favors participation, collaboration, and consensus building, I argue that female district court judges, using this style in their case management environments, should be more likely than their male colleagues to successfully foster intracourt case settlements. To test this, I compile data from nearly 18,000 civil rights and tort cases terminated in four federal district courts across 9 years. The regression and duration analyses provide confirmation that the sex of a case’s assigned judge matters, with female judges successfully fostering settlement in their cases more often and more quickly than their male colleagues. In addition to having significance for litigants, these findings have broad implications for female decision makers across different institutions and organizations as well as the future of the judging profession and diversity appointments to the judiciary.

Research Article
© 2013 by the Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association. All rights reserved.

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I am grateful to the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy at the University at Buffalo, the Center for Empirical Research in the Law at Washington University in St. Louis, and the National Science Foundation for supporting my research. I appreciate the helpful comments of Ryan Black, Lee Epstein, David Hoffman, Pauline Kim, Michael Lynch, Andrew Martin, Lynn Mather, Margo Schlanger, Joseph Smith, James Spriggs, Albert Yoon, faculty workshop participants at the Syracuse University College of Law and the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy, and the editor and anonymous reviewers of the Journal of Law and Courts. I am also thankful for excellent research assistance from Sophie Fortin, Shadi Peterman, Gregg Re, Annie Rushman, and Erica Woodruff.


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